Thursday, August 5, 2010

Victor Kits @ Your Library

A new resource for people living with cancer, mental illness, Alzheimer’s, autism, difficult teens, or other challenging life circumstances, is now available through Washington County Cooperative Library Services member libraries. Victor Kits are small collections of books and DVDs with notebooks containing web resources for inspiration and connection, and guest books for users to share their feelings and insights with others. The films and books were chosen to encourage users to reflect on their own experiences through a different lens, and find hope, humor, meaning, or simply respite, in the stories of others. Films are feature films which are life-affirming and engaging fictional explorations, or documentaries which examine the experiences of real people confronting medical or personal challenges. The books are memoirs, or informational books with an emphasis on case studies of real people. The notebooks contain some factual information, short lists of websites and resources for inspiration and connection, and a guest book.

“The guest book idea is a new one for libraries. It was inspired by my sister-in-law who enjoys staying in B & Bs and writing in the guest books she finds there,” said Forest Grove librarian, Linda Taylor, who developed and donated the Victor Kits for area libraries as a tribute to her brother, Victor, who died of prostate cancer last fall. “The Kits are not for the newly diagnosed, but for the many of us who are living with daunting personal challenges and want to feel less alone and isolated. The dictionary defines “victor” as ”the winner in a fight, battle, contest or struggle.” Taylor adds, “There is more than one way for us to be winners.”

Taylor makes it clear that these kits are not for the newly diagnosed or a substitute for medical care and advice from doctors or mental health professionals. “Treatment options need to be discussed with the experts. These kits are for when you are past the stage of needing just information, and are looking for the lemonade in your pain.”

There are currently nines themes available for Victor Kits: Living With Mental Illness, Living With Death and Dying, Living With Cancer, Living With Breast Cancer, Living With Depression, Living With Postpartum Issues, Parenting Difficult Teens, Parenting Children With Autism or Asperger’s, and Living With Alzheimer’s. The final kit, Living With Cancer #2 will be available in the near future. They can be reserved by phone, in person, or through the library website by searching for ‘victor kit’ at catalog.wccls.org. Tuality Health Resource Center and WCCLS Homebound Services have collaborated on the project, and have copies of the kits. Kits are also available at Beaverton City Library and Forest Grove City Library, but can be sent to any library by request.

Contact: Linda Stiles Taylor
Librarian, Forest Grove City Library
Direct: 503-992-3247
Voice Mail: 503-992-3245